Leaders play key roles in promoting West Slope

It only makes sense for a business journal to report about changing leadership in organizations involved with business, whether those groups promote overall economic development or a specific industry sector. The Business Times constitutes no exception in reporting in this issue about the new executive director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership and president of the West Slope Colorado and Oil and Gas Association.

The stories reflect their subject matter: two leaders with different backgrounds and approaches to their jobs, but a similar passion for making Western Colorado and the Grand Valley a better place to work and live.

Robin Brown takes over leadership of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership and its efforts to recruit new businesses to the area as well as help existing businesses grow their operations.

While the position is a new one for Brown, she continues to play a role with which she’s thoroughly familiar: promoting Mesa County. Brown founded a public relations firm and magazine to do just that. In previous jobs, she managed various events and also was involved in efforts to raise funding to renovate the historic Avalon Theater. Brown also brings to her job experiences of a different sort as a former Army helicopter pilot and commander who was twice stationed in Iraq.

Although Brown hasn’t worked before in economic development in a strict sense, she’s knows the area, its assets and resources and other key players. Moreover, Brown will get a lot of help from Steve Jozefczyk, who’s been promoted from business development manager to deputy director of GJEP.

Meanwhile, Chris Clark begins a two-year term as president and chairman of the board of the WSCOGA, a chapter of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association.
The trade association represents oil and natural gas operators and service companies.

Clark brings to his position more than 25 years of experience in the energy industry, most recently as Piceance field manager for Laramie Energy and overseeing the operation of that company’s natural gas wells in the Piceance Basin. Clark also is familiar with Western Colorado having grown up in the Grand Valley and spent most of his career in the region.

Among other tasks, Clark wants to spread to a wider audience the message of the importance of the energy industry — to the daily activities of modern life as well as the economy and communities on the Western Slope.

It’s important Brown and Clark are successful in their efforts.

There’s ample potential for outdoor recreation to bolster economic development in attracting to the area not only companies involved in providing goods and services related to outdoor pursuits, but also entrepreneurs who enjoy those pursuits and relocate their ventures in the process. At the same time, the region remains dependent on the energy sector. And it would be foolish to dismiss the potential of a resource as huge as the natural gas reserves found beneath the Piceance Basin.

With collaboration and planning, it doesn’t have to be an either-or proposition, but rather an all-of-the-above proposition that fosters a diverse and stable economy while also assuring a high quality of life. Ultimately, that should be the goals of leaders of organizations involved in business.